Billed as a Mizayaka – a Malaysian izakaya or a modern izakaya – Collins brings a sleek update to the classic Japanese bar experience. Spend the evening snacking on sofas beneath The Great Wave Off Kanagawa or take a table on the corner to sip the night away beside walls lined with contemporary Japanese prints.
Open 5pm till 11:30pm, Collins caters to everything from an early dinner to pre-midnight munching, spanning baby octopus, ebi, saba, shishamo, salmon, cod and calamari for seafood seekers to chicken karaage, nam yu pork belly, beef burgers and lamb shoulder chops for meat maniacs – impressive enough for a compact kitchen.
Playful twists are aplenty here, putting a Malaysian and Southeast Asian spin on some Japanese favourites. Mazesoba, the Nagoya-born dry noodle dish that’s made to be mixed with minced meat and a raw egg yolk, gets extra porky points, bolstered by crispy roast pork belly and crunchy pork lard, for cheat-day comfort fare that’s slick and slurp-worthy (RM25).
Platters for sharing make for an attractive after-work meal – unwind over house-made fried gyoza, plumply packed with pork (RM16 for six pieces, paired with a reviving ginger dip), as well as not-quite-Japanese staples closer to home, like siew yuk in the style of Thai moo grob, deep-fried and dished out with green chilli sauce (RM18), or independently sourced lobak that does justice to the Peranakan five-spice meat roll (RM15; Collins’ co-founder is Penang-born, so this lobak isn’t an afterthought).
Collins’ name points to its top tippling temptation – the bar offers unique takes on the Tom Collins cocktail, made not only with gin but also rum or tequila, served in Collins glasses for highball rolling. Gin-based options include the White Grape Highball, rum is reserved for the Spiced Asam Boi Highball and tequila for the Pink Grapefruit Highball, each buoyantly balanced to match alcohol with fruit, refreshingly spirited. You won’t want to stop at one, so it’s nice that Collins’ Collinses are humanely priced (RM28 nett per ice-cold glass, RM70 nett for a set of three).
Whisky highballs are also available if you prefer a more traditional izakaya approach, as well as shochu highballs. There’s no lack of liquor, from wines to Asahi and apple cider, Japanese gins to sake.
Many thanks to Collins for a fun Friday escapade.
Collins Sake & Wine Bar (formerly Private Room TTDI)
48a-2, First Floor, Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun Dr Ismail 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Open Monday-Saturday, 5pm-1130pm. Tel: 019-334-6631